Formic acid, the smallest of the carboxylic acids, was observed in the 17th century from the distillation of ants. Formic acid is utilized in a variety of large scale applications, which include the dyeing of natural and synthetic fibers, feed and fodder preservation, leather tanning, the production of commercial cleaning products, and rubber coagulation. In organic synthesis, formic acid has been used in the synthesis of such classes of compounds as coumarins, optically active styrene oxides, and polyamide oligomers based on 14-amino-3,6,9,12-tetraoxatetradecanoic acid. Formic acid has been used in the mobile phase for various LC-MS analytical methods, such as an LC-MS study of spiroketal stereoisomers of pectenotoxins and an LC/ESI-MS/UV photodiode array method for the analysis of flavonoid glycosides. A method to measure internal nucleoside triphosphate pools of lactococci that uses formic acid in the chromatographic separation has been described. The use of formic acid in the separation and detection of intact proteins by reversed-phase LC/ESI-MS by flow injection analysis has been reported. A method of protein hydrolysis using formic acid for MS analysis has been published.
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